- 1 Neurological origin of chronic insomnia
- 2 Somatic form of the disease
- 3 Insomnia on the background of mental disorders
- 4 Risk groups
- 5 Drugs for the treatment of insomnia
- 6 Non-drug treatment
- 7 Methods for the prevention of chronic insomnia
- 8 Conclusion
Chronic insomnia is not an independent disease. It is associated with somatic or mental disorders. Protracted insomnia provoke such factors:
- neurological disorders (panic attacks, stress, neurosis);
- somatic diseases (hypertension, gastric ulcer, arthrosis, etc.);
- mental illness (depression, senile dementia, schizophrenia).
Pathologies of the central nervous system, snoring and sleep apnea (nocturnal breathing), and concussion also have a negative impact on the quality of sleep.
Other causes of chronic insomnia include taking certain medications (antidepressants, diuretics, Theofillina, etc.), abuse of energy drinks, coffee, and strong tea. Pregnant women and the elderly often complain about problems falling asleep.
Insomnia develops in violation of the regime of work and rest, night work, the habit of abundant supper, lack of nutrients and vitamins, with exhaustion.
Protracted insomnia is associated with serious illnesses. Therefore, with long-term sleep disorders, it is worth examining and finding out the cause of the disorder.
Neurological origin of chronic insomnia
Stress and insomnia often go hand in hand. Regular psychological stress disrupts the nervous system, including the areas of the brain responsible for sleep and wakefulness. Sleep hormones are produced less compared to normal, and adrenaline-like substances, on the contrary, more. Therefore, the nervous system is overworked, it is difficult for a person to sleep.
Neurosis is the second most common neurological factor that causes insomnia. It is a consequence of the traumatic situation, the unfavorable situation in the family or at work, interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts, it is associated with endocrine disorders. In most cases, chronic stress passes into neuroses.
When anxiety disorders insomnia has the most striking manifestations. Most often, problems with sleep occur during panic attacks, which are accompanied by a strong fear, respiratory failure, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), sweating.
Somatic form of the disease
Disorders of sleep can contribute to various diseases:
- pruritic dermatosis and other skin diseases;
- pains of different etiology (headache, articular, neoplastic);
- peptic ulcer disease;
- hormonal disruptions, such as thyrotoxicosis (an increase in thyroid hormone levels of the thyroid gland);
- angina pectoris
With somatic pathologies, a person cannot fall asleep for a long time because he feels unwell. He wakes up at night due to pain, and during the day he feels overwhelmed and drowsy.
Restless night sleep is associated with impaired blood circulation in the spinal cord and brain, leukemia, and other blood diseases.
The cause of insomnia is urinary incontinence. It is caused not only by nervous disorders, but also by urinary system infections, diabetes, and allergies. Sleep while superficial, sensitive, there is a fear of wetting the bed, which provokes even greater stress on the person. Frequent awakenings for going to the toilet reduce the quality and overall duration of sleep.
Insomnia on the background of mental disorders
This group of causes is much more serious than neurological disorders, since it is not a question of stress and neurosis, but of mental illness.
In depression, insomnia manifests itself differently depending on the severity of the nervous disorder. The mild form is accompanied by increased drowsiness and failure of the wake-sleep cycle (hypersomnia). But with moderate and severe depression, the nature of sleep (or its cycle) changes, and chronic insomnia develops. It is difficult for a person to fall asleep, sleep is unstable, by morning it is difficult to wake up and be awake.
Another mental illness – schizophrenia – disrupts the structure of sleep, it becomes restless, it may be absent for several days in a row. This is characteristic of periods of exacerbation of the disease, after which a person, on the contrary, falls into a state of lethargy and drowsiness.
Insomnia is one of the manifestations of bipolar personality disorder, in which there is a sharp change of affective and depressed state. Previously, this disease was called manic-depressive psychosis.
Chronic insomnia and inability to fall asleep is observed in senile dementia (dementia). Characterized by nighttime nervousness of the nervous system and daytime decline in mental activity. In old age, insomnia is the most difficult to treat; atrophic and vascular changes in the brain exacerbate the situation.
According to statistics, elderly people and middle-aged women are most susceptible to chronic sleep disorder. These are the main risk groups.
Older people often experience insomnia that lasts for months and even years, and a person cannot do anything about it. The main reasons for this are brain aging, low physical activity, loneliness. Moreover, in old age, the body’s need for night sleep is reduced physiologically.
In women older than 40 years, the lack of sleep can last for weeks. This is due to many factors – emotional susceptibility, suspiciousness, anxiety for grown-up children, climacteric changes.
Other risk factors:
- unhealthy diet;
- chronic sleep deprivation, night work;
- frequent flights, change of time zones;
- uncontrolled medication and stimulants;
- intense mental work.
Treatment of chronic insomnia depends on the symptoms. To determine the exact diagnosis and prescription of treatment, it is recommended to consult a specialist.
Drugs for the treatment of insomnia
Approximately one fifth of patients, especially those with mental or somatic diseases, need to receive sleeping pills. In other cases, it may be enough to eliminate the cause of insomnia, the use of light OTC drugs and non-drug relaxation methods.
You can not take sleeping pills without prior diagnosis and prescription. They have a number of strict contraindications and side effects.
Doctors always prescribe such drugs in the lowest possible dosage, because the oppression of the central nervous system, like its over-stimulation, is equally dangerous to health.
Sleeping pills are prohibited for pregnant and lactating women, patients with respiratory disorders during sleep, people whose activity is related to concentration and quick response.
For the treatment of insomnia shows different groups of funds. The doctor must choose the appropriate medicine for treatment.
Tranquilizers soothe the nervous system, relieve irritability, fear and anxiety, eliminate neurotic manifestations and muscle spasms. Appointed in low or medium dosages, in high cause severe drowsiness. Examples of tranquilizers:
Barbiturates reduce anxiety and depression, but can cause drug dependence. With a long reception cause a state of weakness, depression, therefore, are appointed short courses. Examples of barbiturates:
- Sodium terminal;
Antihistamines (H1-histamine receptor blockers) are allergy medications, but also have a sedative effect. They help you fall asleep faster, but they depress the nervous system for a long time. That is why after their reception morning drowsiness and lethargy is felt. Popular antihistamines for insomnia:
Prescription hypnotics from the group of benzodiazepines (Zolpidem, Somnol) act briefly, and in the morning after them there is no such inhibition and drowsiness as from antihistamines. They improve the quality of sleep, reduce the number of nightly awakenings, promote rapid immersion in sleep.
These drugs include:
- adaptogens – Melatonin, Melatonex;
- phenobarbital-based sedatives – Valocordin, Corvalol;
- means to improve cerebral circulation – Memoplant, Tanakan;
- Valerian tincture.
Melatonin preparations are contraindicated in vascular diseases and in the period of receiving immunosuppressive agents.
Phenobarbitaly, like barbiturates, can cause drug dependence, therefore, require strict adherence to the dosage recommended by the attending physician.
In the treatment of insomnia, massage, relaxing baths and physiotherapy are effective. Aromatherapy, evening meditation, yoga classes will be helpful.
Massage normalizes blood circulation near the brain and spinal cord, relieves muscle tone. Especially useful to conduct a session immediately before bedtime. The course includes 10–20 procedures.
Physiotherapy treatments use magnetic therapy, electrophoresis with sedatives, and reflexology (acupuncture). Baths are an affordable way to relax after a work day, to distance yourself from everyday problems, to relieve muscle and mental stress.
Aromatherapy recommends the use of lavender, chamomile, valerian, lemon balm or jasmine essential oils for sedation and relaxation (5-7 drops in an aroma lamp or 3-4 drops in an aroma pendant).
Other effective and safe treatments for insomnia are cognitive therapy and behavioral change. Such work is carried out by a psychologist or psychotherapist and includes training in relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene, the destruction of human stereotypes about the causes of insomnia.
Methods for the prevention of chronic insomnia
The following measures help to prevent insomnia:
- avoiding alcohol and energy drinks;
- restriction of coffee, strong tea;
- Observance of sleep and wakefulness – the refusal of daytime sleep and nightlife, a fixed time of lifting and falling asleep;
- regular exercise (home gymnastics, fitness, swimming, jogging, gym, etc.);
- light dinner – fruits, dairy products, vegetables.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates daily rhythms and makes it easier to fall asleep. It can be produced in sufficient quantity only in complete darkness, so you need to take care that it is dark in the bedroom.
Before bedtime, it is recommended to air the room and for 2 hours not to burden the brain with reading, watching a video, listening to energetic or heavy music, physical activity.
Lack of adequate treatment for insomnia can lead to negative mental and physical health effects. In the case of recurring situations involving sleep problems, or other sleep disorders, you should consult a somnologist. If this is not possible, then make an appointment with a neurologist. Be sure to get tested for somatic diseases.